Football lost a great on the 28th…

On December 28th, the NFL lost former player, coach, broadcaster, and video-game endorser unexpectedly. Madden owns the best winning percentage by any coach in NFL history throughout his ten year coaching stint. In 1978, Madden put away the playbook and put on the broadcasting headset; not after posting a 103-32-7 overall record (76%) while coaching the Oakland Raiders. Whether your memories of Madden are most vivid on the gridiron, in the press box, or his iconic voice in Madden ’09;

Brett Favre on the cover of Madden ’09 video game

one thing is for certain, he had a positive impact in some shape or form for all football fans, players, employees, and coaches. Rest in peach John Madden, you will be missed.


With the conclusion of several college football bowl games, we are seeing more and more “opt-outs” ever than before by these athletes. Mix this with coaches being fired faster than being hired makes it very difficult to know where a teams’ head is at entering a particular match-up. This new and evolving variable that is frustrating and taxing to keep track of makes gambling in this era of the bowl season harder than ever. Typically we would like to “proceed with caution” when making a play on odds/lines that seem too good to be true. When it comes to college football and bowl season, I highly recommend neglecting these such odds/lines as a whole. There are others out there that know way more than we do regarding a teams’ psyche, attitude, you name it; best to stay clear of those lines that make us scratch our heads. A good example of this scenario occurred this bowl season at Dallas, TX at the First Responder Bowl. Louisville closed as a 2 pint underdogs against Air Force?… The Cardinals are getting points against a Mountain West team, seems a bit fishy, right? The Cardinals ended up not covering the point spread after losing 31-28 to the Falcons. I have been searching out for some tangible edge(s) to capture for the remainder of the bowl season. Of the 24 games that have taken place, 12 of which have seen the underdogs cover ATS whereas the favorites have also covered half of the bowl games – no edge there. However, thus far there have been four games in which a mid-major program is facing off against a Power 5 foe. In each of these four games the mid-major program has won outright while going 3-1 ATS. Pretty impressive, right? Looking forward, there are only two of these match-ups remaining (Cincinnati vs. Alabama & C. Michigan vs. Washington St.). The Bearcats

currently sit as 14 point underdogs, whereas the Chippewas are 7 point underdogs. If you can shop around and find the hook on these numbers to get to 14.5 and/or 7.5 then I would like to stay true to the trend and side with both the mid-major underdogs over the Power 5 opponents… *as I bite my nails anxiously knowing that Alabama could very well be ahead by 24 points by halftime.*


Before I sign off, I came across a new development in Las Vegas. Vegas opened its doors to a new casino and resort in October of this year by the name of New Circa Resort in Vegas. What makes this resort unlike anything you’ve ever seen is its 4,000 capacity sportsbook-pool in one as you gaze above at the 143 ft. TV all while relaxing in the pool with your favorite beverage! Circa is just off the Vegas strip located downtown on Fremont St. Next time you decide to visit Sin City, look into planning your stay at Circa Casino and Resort.

Bowling Green is not ‘bowling’ this year…

College football bowl season begins in just six short days on the 17th. Leading us off are the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee St. and the Rockets from Toledo with action starting at 11:00am CST in the Bahamas. Subscribe to get the full College Football Bowl Game Schedule including the point spreads.

Currently, the odds sit in the Rockets favor as 10 point favorites, while the total is listed at 52 points. These two teams are just the tip of the iceberg with all that encompasses each and every bowl season bonanza! This season (post season) for college football is compiled of 42 bowl games for the pickings – betting pickings that is. We will spoiled with more college football from December 17th through January 4th (not including the CFP National Championship Game).

A “tip” that you may hear quite often when referring to betting bowl games is having awareness of certain teams’ motivation levels, or lack thereof. However, I have a strong belief that this lack of motivation only stems from Power 5 schools. Point being, smaller, mid-major programs will typically always fight tooth-and-nail during these bowl game match-ups. For the most part, they have no business, nor shot, at competing for an FBS college football national championship. Hence, these are the moments and games that they live to play for with their emotional and motivational levels at very high levels compared to some Power 5 programs that view these match-ups as just that – just another game.

Getting down to “how” and “why: behind making our plays, lets take a peak at a few tips that we’ll need to keep in mind while “bowl-betting” this winter. Thus far, I have already mentioned the motivation factor; now we need to be weary of each team’s player “opt-outs.” Opt-outs are become more and more prevalent in the college football bowl season realm. Athletes now understand how much is potential at stake for their future. Many argue if this is the right or wrong OPTion to consider as a student-athlete; however, maybe that discussion can be had a different time for a different post. As a side note: the first name that comes to mind when I think about the most impactful college football bowl “opt-outs” is Christian McCaffrey during his time at Stanford as he decided to not participate in the Sun Bowl in 2016. This created a storm of controversy regarding whether or not McCaffrey was in the right or wrong by abandoning his team to secure himself for a high draft pick and inevitably make millions for the single stroke of a pen. Pause and think to yourself for just a second: What would you do in his situation? Would you abandon your team and Seniors during their last moments of battle or would you guarantee that your future was safe by not participating in just another bowl game? Thankfully I have no skin in the game, so I don’t have any strong opinions siding either which way.

While we are on the subject of bowl season, we obviously have to discuss the CFP a bit (College Football Playoff). For the first time in its infancy, a mid-major school has been awarded to participate in the CFP. It’s a progressive world that we live in so I guess that this too fits the bill. On December 31st, Alabama (1) will take on Cincinnati (4) in the Cotton Bowl where the Tide is currently 13.5 point favorites. Immediately following, Michigan (2) squares up against Georgia (3) as 7.5 point underdogs in the Orange Bowl.

These odds seem very difficult to side with, at least in my “professional” opinion. However, I do know that both Michigan and Georgia have exceptional defenses that would pose for a low scoring game. Hence, I would more often than not side with the given points in low scoring affairs as the total is currently only set at 43.5… Michigan +7.5, give it to me! That is my best bet for these two CFP match-ups. Best of luck come this bowl-betting season and may the most motivated come out victorious (at least from a point-spread perspective).


Upcoming Football Picks:

Military Bowl: Boston College vs. E. Carolina (+3.5) – PICK: E. CAROLINA

RAVENS @ BROWNS (-2.5) – PICK: BROWNS

FALCONS @ PANTHERS (-3) – PICK: PANTHERS

SEAHAWKS @ TEXANS (+7.5) – PICK: TEXANS

STEELERS @ VIKINGS (-3) – PICK: VIKINGS

49ERS @ BENGALS (-1) – PICK: BENGALS

Layups & lockouts…

It has been since 1995 since the MLB and its stakeholders have entered a work stoppage otherwise known as a lockout. With many free agents scrambling, and for good reason, to sign new deals with current or new franchises before the work stoppage began; we have seen record setting dollar figures hit the air-waves as this MLB lockout was predicted. Since the conclusion of the World Series, their has been a total of $1.7 billion worth of contracts signed between teams and free agent players. It should come to no surprise that everyone and their mom wanted to have continuous money flowing into their bank accounts before the much anticipated lockout was set in motion.

Two key dates to keep in mind moving forward are a: February 22nd, the date that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training and b: March 31st, Opening Day around the Major League. An agreement needs to be reached between the Player’s Union and the MLB Staff before these dates in order for a full 2022 season to transpire. While we are the subject of baseball, once again the Los Angeles Dodgers are the preseason betting favorites in terms of World Series odds currently listed at +500.

2022-03-31T12:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

MLB Opening Day


The college basketball season can seem overwhelming with the amount of games taking place day in and day out. To put it into perspective, there are 353 D1 NCAAB teams that compete in about 33 games a year (give or take). That comes out to a whopping 5,824 games per season; not including the March Madness tournament. Point being, it can become very difficult when it comes time to make your NCAAB plays. Thus far in the 2021-22 NCAAB campaign, there is no evident value that stems from blinding siding with the road, home, favorite, underdog, over, or under plays – bummer, right? However, from a historical perspective we will notice that taking first half UNDERS in games that present relatively high total margins are profitable. Second, it has been detected that conference games are typically closer in margin than the initial point spread might indicate. In short, taking the points in conference competitions is generally never a bad bet.

Saturday NCAAB Picks:

YALE @ AUBURN (T: 70.5) – PICK: 1H UNDER

WAKE FOREST (+10) @ VIRGINIA TECH – PICK: WAKE FOREST

a look inside the NBA’s new look…

The 2021-22 NBA season is already about a quarter of the way through the season. By this point, the Heat and Nets lead the way in the Eastern Conference while the Warriors are currently positioned in the driver seat in the Western Conference. With the NBA in the process of rebranding its notorious Jerry West logo, I thought it might be fitting to highlight some of the key player offseason player movements around the league. Now, we will see Jabari Parker in a Celtics uniform, Kyle Kuzma is now a Wizard, Russell Westbrook went to the Lakers, Kyle Lowrie is now in Miama, Lonzo Ball moved to the Windy-City to become a Bull, and much much more. Here is a complete list of the NBA offseason transactions via ESPN.

Of all of these shifts and movements around the NBA, the one that comes as a surprise to me is one that involved no movement with Ben Simmons staying put in Philadelphia. Although Simmons is unhappy and unwilling to play labeling him OUT due to “personal reasons”, the 76ers continue to keep him on their roster while he remains under contract. This is a very interesting off-of-the-court story to stay up-to-date with as the season moves forward. Notice how Ben Simmons is listed as the 5th PG on the 76ers depth chart… Yikes!

The NBA is now 16 games in (give or take) into its young season. Thus far the most profitable plays have come from the road favorites covering at a 57% rate whereas the home underdogs are just covering at a 43% clip. As for the OVER/UNDER plays are concerned, the OVER is covering 39% of the time whereas the UNDER is pegged the most profitable play of the season hitting at a 61% rate. If you are a “parlay junkie” and love betting on the NBA then you might want to take a look at taking those ROAD FAVORITES and the UNDER. Tonight (Friday Nov. 19th) features three road favorites, that being the Pacers (-1), Warriors (-2), and Clippers (-4.5).


WEEKEND FOOTBALL PICKS:

TEXAS @ WEST VIRGINIA (-2) PICK = WEST VIRGINIA

WFT @ PANTHERS (-3) PICK = PANTHERS

Week 8, time to be great…

By this point in the NFL season, we have a very good sample size for each team’s strengths, weaknesses, and identities. A handful of teams currently find themselves in the midst of some rather surprising W-L records nearing the halfway point of the 2021 – 22 campaign; some good, and some not so good. This year’s NFL over-achieving awards go out to the Bengals of the AFC and the Cardinals of the NFC. Interestingly enough, both of these squads are lead by recent Heisman Trophy QB’s that were number one overall draft picks in back-to-back years (2018-19). With it now being Week 8 around the NFL, we can rely on not only our eyes, but also the numbers that each team has accumulated thus far. Stats may be a bit skewed in the early weeks due to several factors; a few being a team’s strength of schedule (or lack thereof), or a couple of poor performances that would rather be anomalies for a particular team. You could fill in the blank with whatever variable you’d like; the point is that by this point in the season we can certainly rely on the statistics to paint a clear picture of league wide trends and each team’s performance(s) moving forward. Up to this point, Away Underdogs have been the most profitable teams to bet on ATS, covering at a 57% clip. As far as the totals are concerned, the UNDER has been the more favorable play covering in 56% of the games. Week 8 presents nine match-ups where the road team will serve as the underdog. Last year was the first year that the NFL saw road teams with a better winning percentage outright, not ATS. This year is not only trending in a similar direction but the road teams are once again winning at an alarming rate when having to pack their bags. Although it is by a slight margin, road teams are currently 54-53 overall.

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Last night the Houston Astros evened up the the World Series tying the Atlanta Braves one game apiece. A quick and blind play that might be worth taking note of is the total based on the where each game is being played. Minute Maid Park is home to the Astros where left field is only 315ft from home plate; Truist park, where the Braves call home, is a much larger park as far as dimensions are concerned. I believe that we can blindly take the OVER when the Astros are at home and the UNDER when the Braves are at home. The homerun ball is so prevalent and such a crucial factor in today’s game leaving me to purchase stock in the fact that ballparks dimensions can have that much of an influence on the outcome/total for each game. Let’s also not forget to take advantage of the National League vacant DH spot while it still exists (that debate is for a different time as far as the universal designated hitter is concerned). With the Braves having a larger ballpark and the DH being substituted for the pitcher makes me lean towards the UNDERS when these World Series games are held in Atlanta, vice-versa when Houston is hosting. So, if you are lost on which way to lean on your World Series plays and just want some action on the game because, well… just because it’s fun, then I recommend leaning towards the game totals depending on which city each World Series game is played in. Game 3 of the World Series will take place in Atlanta tomorrow night at 7:10 CST on FOX where the O/U is currently set at 8.5.

It’s never too early to utter Joe Lunardi’s name…

With college football being well underway, I cannot help but to begin to get antsy for the return of college basketball and all of the drama that comes with it! Currently, I am in the middle of much anticipated read for myself written by Gonzaga Head Coach, Mark Few. Few’s novel encompasses the national obsession that has become Bracketology and March Madness. While this book relates to college basketball annual tournament, it mainly details the mastermind behind Bracketeering, Joe Lunardi.

Click HERE to order a copy!

College basketball officially tips off on November 9th with Kansas vs. Michigan St. and Duke vs. Kentucky as two of the marquee match-ups on day one. Since I’ve mention both Joe Lunardi and Kansas, Lunardi’s preseason bracketology projections are published with all 72 invitees. Obviously his weekly brackets are fluid throughout the season as games are played and team’s identites begin to become more and more transparent as the season plays out. Currently, the four #1 seeds are Gonzaga, Kansas, Texas, and UCLA. Does Joe think that the Big12 is going to be that good this season? Also, is he putting too much stock into UCLA’s Cinderella run last year to the Final Four as an #11 seed to now make them a #1 seed? The beauty about it is, “who knows?!” However I can honestly tell you that no one knows better than one Joe Lunardi. Watch it all shake out as the final bracket comes to fruition for the arrival of the 2022 March Madness tournament come March 15th. As the season commences, look to make your early plays on the UNDER when match-ups occur on a neutral court as players are equipped with early season fresh legs, foreign court = different shooting backdrop, and first game jitters are all variables for early season neutral court games to result in the UNDER.

Click HERE to views CBS’s Preseason Top 25 NCAAB Rankings

Shifting gears a bit, the National League portion of the MLB postseason is set in stone. The top overall NL seed are the San Francisco Giants whereas the NL Wildcard match-up will be played in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and Cardinals on October 6th. As of yesterday, the Cardinals 17-game winning

streak came to an end thanks to the Brewers. Now that the Cardinals have clinched an NL Wildcard birth, look for the baseball universe to level itself out providing the Cardinals with some “L’s” on the horizon along with their motivation factor being poor to weak at best as their postseason spot is already locked up. In lieu of these factors, I believe that there could be some significant value in the Cardinals opponents for the remainder of the 2021 MLB regular season.

Being the NFL junky that I am, I need to get in my NFL two cents for the sake of the post. We are amid Week 4 of the NFL 2021-22 campaign. My Chiefs are 1-2 and the world seems to be ending but I will spare you as the reader on those additional thoughts and emotions. My Week 4 NFL picks reside in San Francisco, Denver, and Los Angeles. This week, I love the 49ers (-2.5) over the Seahawks, the Ravens (+1.5) visiting the Broncos, and the Raiders (+3.5) on the road against the Chargers. You’re welcome, and I digress. I was doing some research the other day on the NFL team’s turnover margin based on their playoff appearance. Last season there were 14 playoff spots available, of those 14 spots 11 of them landed in the top 14 of turnover margin. Is it a coincidence that the majority of the playoff spots go to teams that possess a positive turnover margin? Lets check the 2019 turnover margin stats… The 2019-20 playoffs displayed 10 of the top 12 franchises in turnover margin during that season. Point being, teams with is the upper tier of turnover margin tend to earn a spot in the NFL

Playoffs. We can take this edge and/or stat and make it into a microcosm for the regular season and just simply infer that a team with a greater turnover margin will have value in each and every match-up throughout any given season. For example, this upcoming Week 4 exhibits the Browns visiting the Vikings. The Vikings are 2 point dogs at home; however, they are +3 in turnover margin against the Browns. Here we have a road favorite that has a worse turnover margin than the home dog. You already know which way I am leaning! I believe that their is significant value on the Vikings over the Browns in this Week 4 showdown.


Weekend Football Picks:

BROWNS @ VIKINGS (+2) – PICK = VIKINGS

ARKANSAS @ GEORGIA (O/U 48.5) – PICK = UNDER

KANSAS (+34) @ IOWA ST. – PICK = KANSAS

ARIZONA ST. @ UCLA (-3) – PICK = UCLA

*above are my other three NFL plays for Week 4

As one door closes, another one opens…


As the MLB regular season begins to wind down, a lot of our attention will shift focus over to the NFL. Until the MLB postseason is underway, the majority of America will be dialed in to the NFL after the annual long-awaited start that is Week 1 of the NFL season. To catch everyone up to speed, the San Diego Padres are vastly under performing based on preseason expectations whereas the San Francisco Giants are out doing themselves based on preseason oddsmakers. The preseason Giant’s win total was set at a whopping 75.5 games won with a 0.1% chance to win this year’s World Series. The Giants eclipsed this total on August 15th against the Rockies. They went OVER their win total with almost two months left in the season; let that one sink in. I digress… listed below are the current World Series winner odds for the 2021 MLB Postseason.

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Currently, the Dodgers are set as the leading favorites with the addition of future Hall of Fame pitcher Max Scherzer. Odds aside, come postseason time it is in we as sports gamblers best interest to make our plays on teams that are so called HOT; or at the very least, not bet against them.

As we approach the postseason, it is important to pay attention to the forecasted weather in each participating city since it in fact will be October. Obviously the month of October is absolutely irrelevant to Tampa Bay’s dome stadium when it comes to weather having a potential affect on the game and its outcome. However, weather might be an important factor to consider when making plays on games in New York or Boston. Coming from personal experience, cold weather situations grant the pitcher with the competitive advantage over the hitter 100% of the time. Why? You might ask. When temperatures are considered “cold” the batter is at a disadvantage because of two reasons: first, hitting is a very technical and exact science that is very difficult to master. This already very difficult “art” becomes much more difficult when the batter is having a tough time feeling his bat, body movements, etc. Second, typically the pitcher has been going at it for a handful of innings by this point allowing him to be both in a rhythm and relatively warm. On the other hand, the batter only gets to step in the batters box every ninth hitter and they may not see the ball hit to them for an inning or so. These factors make it difficult for the batter to get their bodies primed to hit a 95 MPH fastball. Think about it – it would be like racing someone of equal speed as yourself but they get to warm up and you do not, you and I both know who is winning that race. The same goes for the pitcher and batter match-up’s. This was the long version of how cold weather gives the pitcher the advantage while the batter is at a disadvantage throughout cold weather MLB games. One last note on postseason baseball; the odds makers and public gamblers tend to overvalue the home team. During the dog-days of summer travel and jet-lag are genuine factors. However, come postseason baseball for these guys the travel factors are much more minute based on the importance of each game, allowing adrenaline to take care of this void.

Making my NCAAF plays the other day, a theory dawned on me that I would like to think could give me a competitive gambling edge that I am eager to share with all of you. We’ll call it the NCAAF Chain Reaction Theory. Note: This theory/edge only works for NCAAF, not NFL. I believe that NFL teams are much more consistent than NCAAF players/teams making the “regression” portion of the theory less significant. In short, the chain reaction theory strives to predict a NCAAF O/U outcome. My inspiration behind this proposition ties into the regression theory and/or linear regression (famously noted from the film Moneyball). The regression theory explains how a player and/or teams immaculate or faulty performance(s) typically come in the form of luck or chance.

Hence, previous outcomes will balance themselves out and be followed up by a performance or trend that differs from one(s) of the past. My theory is somewhat similar (but obviously different). The regression theory applies to all sports whereas mine (as previously stated) applies only to NCAAF. The easiest way to explain this assumption is by taking both teams’ past performances as opposed to a singular team/player’s past performance that the regression theory attempts to explain. Week in and week out there are countless of examples to back this theory up. If we take Team A and Team B Week 2 O/U totals and notice that both teams scores fell under the same OVER or UNDER category, then one would assume that the opposite would be much more likely to occur for Team A and Team B as they both faced off the very next week. Let me give you a real life example: Buffalo @ Nebraska (54.5 O/U) went UNDER. Both teams’ previous match-up’s ended with the total going OVER. I believe that this could be the theory of regression’s “big brother,” if you will. Take a look for these kind of “spots” in your Week 3 NCAAF plays.


My Week 3 NCAAF Picks:

VIRGINIA TECH (+3) @ WEST VIRGINIA – PICK = VIRGINIA TECH

NEVADA @ KANSAS ST. (+2) – PICK = KANSAS ST.

MISSISSIPPI ST. (-165) @ MEMPHIS – PICK = MISSISSIPPI ST. (ml)

SOUTH CAROLINA @ GEORGIA O/U 48.5 – PICK = UNDER

AUBURN @ PENN ST. (O/U 53) – PICK = UNDER

Keep betting! Save the MLB…

America’s past time very well could become just that in the distant future. Once America’s most beloved sport is beginning to trend downward in ratings and viewership; which is… well, everything! Last month the MLB gifted its fans with a nostalgic experience in Dyersville, Iowa. The Yankees and White Sox squared off on a replica field/stadium from the film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. The 2022 MLB campaign is set to continue the Field of Dreams game that will feature the Cubs and Reds. Gladly, this clear PR stunt was quite the success for the MLB and Rob Manfred. I hope and believe that games, ideas, endeavors, etc of this nature will rectify the MLB and all that it represents so that its downward spiral changes its course. To put the MLB and its shortcomings into perspective, last year’s World Series match-up of the Dodgers and Rays captured just 9.8 million views. The 1978 World Series drew an outstanding 44.2 million views! (P. Saunders, 2021) I understand that comparing 2020 and 1978 is like comparing apples and oranges; there is much, much more to occupy us as humans today as opposed to the 70’s. However, if we compare this stat to the very comparable NFL’s Super Bowl than we would see that the NFL is thriving and the MLB is not. In 1978 (Super Bowl XII) the Broncos and Cowboys captivated 78.9 million viewers. Compare this to the most recent Super Bowl between the Bucs and Chiefs that was seen by 96.4 million viewers.

Obviously you and I do not have a crystal ball at our disposal and cannot tell the future of the of the MLB and its entirety. Though, I believe that the MLB and its partners should construct more business proposals of the like of the Field of Dreams ploy that was a clear victory for the MLB and its fans. As far as the here-and-now are concerned, the 2021 MLB crusade has presented us with more than enough of a sample size to make educated plays when gambling on MLB games. Some ordinary statistics that we should be familiar with that have accumulated over the course of the season are as follows: AWAY S/U – 46%, HOME S/U – 54%. FAVORITES – 60%, UNDERDOGS: 40%. However, the real value has came from the AWAY UNDERDOGS on the run line (+1.5); these teams are covering 57% of the time.

These are great plays when you can get these teams at +100 or better even getting +1.5 runs. As for the 2021 O/U trends, they are teeter-tottering at a 50.6% win/loss rate. Hence, those O/U lines have been very sharp all season long; thanks, but I’ll stay away for now. If we are truly itching to make an O/U play then I would advise making them when a home-favorite situation arises with that play being UNDER. One aspect of this angle that has potential for possessing value is the simple fact that the home-favorite has a better than not chance of not batting in the bottom of the 9th inning. Unlike other sports, it is in our best interests to bet against the grain when a “streak” is in occurrence. Baseball is a game of averages; averages tend to even out over time and eventually show their true self/face. As sports gamblers, we should bet against an MLB club that is riding a relatively long winning-streak. Typically, these teams will be favored in each of their current winning-streak games allowing for some value to succumb.

Enjoy this upcoming weekend that is filled with NCAAF galore! Pay attention to a school/program and the amount of seniors that they may have lost from last season. That notation is more important than the name on the front of a programs jersey. For what it is worth, from what I have seen thus far, take FAVORITES in the first half; and if they are down/not covering after the first half then take them in the 2nd half. i.e. UCF over Boise St. (2nd half cover ATS). An example of a favorite that covered the first half already in Week 1 is App St. over E. Carolina. Best of luck! As always, go dogs!!!

It’s no fantasy, I’m back with more football!

What a time to be alive (if you’re a sports fan), the 2021 NFL season is right around the corner and the MLB Playoff picture is beginning to take shape. I would first like to apologize for my recent absence. I began coaching high school level baseball this past summer and took up a lot of my free time that I would typically spend in front of a computer typing for the very minimal audience of this blog. While away, the MLB has been in full swing, the NBA Finals concluded with a Bucks win, and both the NBA & NFL Draft’s occurred.

With the NFL season on the horizon, that also means that the NCAAF seasoning is upon us. Guess who tops the preseason polls for the 2021 season? Yep, Alabama. Below are the preseason rankings for the upcoming NCAAF season.

With the start of the NFL season comes the start of a new year of Fantasy Football. A brand new opportunity to prove to your buddies that you do in fact have an abundance of knowledge when it comes to the NFL and its players. We are beginning to see the NFL take on a new form with fresh faces emerging as some of the top performers and stars in the league. It is important to find that fine line between letting go of the “has-been” veterans that possess “house-hold” name status and begin accepting the transformational new beings of the league and its future.

2021 NFL Pump Hype Video

When it comes to the later rounds of you fantasy drafts, here are some “sleepers” to think about placing in your draft queue… Rondale Moore (WR – Cardinals): Although he only stands at 5-7, Moore is a very athletic and shifty wideout that could cause some serious issues for DB’s due to his unique skill set. Gus Edwards (RB – Ravens): Most believe that JK Dobbins will be the shiny new toy that will be highly utilized this season for the Ravens, however, look for Baltimore to rely on their veteran back to carry more of a workload than most are anticipating. Gabriel Davis (WR – Bills): with this being his Sophomore season, Davis is looking to take that next step and continue his success that he had with QB Josh Allen in their 2020 campaign. Cole Kmet (TE – Bears): With current TE1 (Jimmy Graham) being on the wrong side of 30, Kmet is prime for the opportunity to take over that TE1 position for Justin Fields and Chicago.

My Week 1 plays are in and there are only two games that I was particularly fond of. I like the Cowboys (+6.5) over the Bucs and the Giants (+1) over the Broncos. I foresee the Bucs having somewhat of a Super Bowl hangover and with so many uncertainties at quarterback with the Broncos it seems hard to not take the points especially with them being on the road. Over the past ten seasons, Week 1 underdogs have gone 92-79 ATS (54%); while big Week 1 underdogs getting 6.5 or more points cover at an even better clip of 61%. In short, the worse a team performed in the previous season the better off they are ATS in Week 1 of the following season. Why is this? Simple, the public tends to fade the “lesser” team while clinging on to a team’s past performances. There is just simply too much turnover in the NFL with each game’s outcome being decided by only a few plays to assume that a team will duplicate its previous year’s performance. In this instance, a team that I would like to jump on its bandwagon before it’s too late is the Atlanta Flacons. The Falcons ended the season with an underwhelming 4-12 record. However, the average scores from their games only ended with them losing by 1.1 point(s). You don’t have to be a sports gambling guru to understand that the 2020 Atlanta Falcons could have easily have been an 8-8 club as opposed to the 4-12 showing that they produced. Point here is that the public will only see the 4-12 record that was manufactured from last season and ignore what lies beneath the naked eye. I believe that the 2021 campaign will result in the ball bouncing more favorably for the Falcons and that slight 1.1 deficit margin might shift their way in the winning direction. In hopes of Matt Ryan returning back to a somewhat quality QB; look for Calvin Ridley to have a breakout year with Julio Jones now removed from the Falcons roster; meanwhile with the addition of potential star and 4th overall draft pick TE Kyle Pitts entering the equation should provide the Falcons offense with some fantasy and handicapping value.

Shortened seasons equal larger brackets…

The NBA Playoffs are only about two weeks away. Came quick huh? This is large in part due to the modified and shorted season. The NBA shortened its season by ten games this year due to (you guessed it) COVID. The idea behind the shortened season allows for more flexibility for rescheduling and making-up foreseeable postponed games along the way due to the virus. In conjunction with fewer games on the schedule, back in November the NBA announced that it would alter the playoff format for the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The new format grants four additional teams to enter the playoff bracket (two from the East and two from the West). Coincidentally, the 2020 MLB Postseason also shortened their season and then expanded their playoffs and its participants. Love it, hate it. More meaningfully games for we the viewers – that is a win in my book. Currently, the 76ers lead the way in the Eastern Conference and the Wizards and Pacers possess the 9th and 10th seeds for the additional playoff spots. In the Western Conference, the Jazz hold the #1 seed while the Spurs and Grizzlies own the 9th and 10th seeds. Obviously we have no presumable edge or knowledge in terms of historical trends on the outcome of these “play-in” games that will take place. However, what we do have is historically evidence from the March Madness “play-in” games and how these “play-in” winners fare in the next rounds of their tournaments. The edge that we will be searching for in the situation will come from the winners of the “play-in” round/bracket when they go up against the #1 and #2 seeds in the following round on the NBA Playoffs. Keep in mind that these “play-in” winners are always the lower seed when facing off with their next opponent; much like the new NBA playoff format. Shockingly, these teams are 18-20 since the “play-in” games were implemented into the March Madness bracket. That is good for a 47% win percentage, and I am willing to bet that the cover margin is much higher considering that they are underdogs being the lower seeded team, as stated above. From my perspective, these first round winners are not only playing with “house money” by this point, but are also riding the momentum from their previous win. I believe that the winners of these NBA first round “play-in” games will have some form of momentum on their sides that they will carry with them against the #1 and #2 seeded squads. This is not to say that the #7 and #8 seeds will win in a seven game series, but rather they will be more likely to cover in the early portion of the series. I don’t think that they will win outright at a 47% clip like college “play-in” teams do during March Madness, but they may possess some of that same “mojo” that can provide us some valuable gambler’s edge during the original first round of the NBA Playoffs. Come this NBA postseason, keep in mind that the UNDER hits 59% when/if Game 6 and 7 are required. Also, home favorites have been covering at a high rate during the playoffs in recent years. You’re welcome.

Earlier, I mentioned the MLB and how the NBA is following in its footsteps a bit as far as shortened seasons and modified playoffs/postseasons are concerned. However, this year the MLB is scheduled to have their full 162 game schedule for each franchise. By this point we are 30 games into the season (give or take). This is a solid sample side to evaluate how each club is in terms of being “good” or “bad” to the naked eye. Now what the naked eye cannot calculate is a pitcher’s xERA. No, that x there is not a typo. We all know what a pitcher’s ERA means and tells us: his earned run average and basically how “good” or “bad” a pitcher he is, right? However, xERA is the latest technology that provides an MLB pitcher’s expected ERA. A lot of this data is made up of luck, for lack of better terms. For instance, if a pitcher has recorded a lot of hard hit outs than his standard ERA may reflect positively in his favor. However, xERA might calculate that these hard hit outs would more often than not result in hits. Hence, taking the luck-factor out of the equation and determining a expected earned run average. To be honest, I just learned about xERA, and I’m glad that I did. When gambling on baseball, we the bettor make our plays based on the pitching match-up, correct? Or at least I hope so… Now, I don’t even bother looking at the starting pitcher’s ERA, but rather their xERA. I honestly believe that a pitcher’s xERA is more indicative of his future outings as opposed to his actual ERA. To give you an actual, real life example of this trendy xERA stat, the Indian’s James Karinchak has an ERA of 0.60 and an xERA of 1.15. He is leading

the league in xERA, but has the fifth best ERA. On the flip side, T.J. Zeuch owns the leagues worst xERA at 11.94… yikes! However, his actual ERA is much better at a 6.75; meaning that he must be getting fairly lucky during his pitching outings and/or facing below average hitters. To locate a pitcher’s xERA and much more click HERE. I find it extremely useful when searching out my MLB plays to utilize the xERA statistic along with any other advanced metrics that are now recorded in today’s age. Listed below are the current championship odds on both the NBA and MLB courtesy of OddShark.


NBA:

NETS +250

LAKERS +350

CLIPPERS +650

JAZZ +750

BUCKS +800

76ERS +1200

SUNS +1500

MLB:

DODGERS +300

YANKEES +750

PADRES +800

METS +1000

WHITE SOX +1100

ASTROS +1400

BRAVES +1500